New Face gave local actress Jayley Woo her signature haircut

STYLISH: (Above) Local actress Jayley Woo.
STYLISH: ((Above) Woo getting her hair cut in 2011.

New Face 2011 finalist Jayley Woo called her entry into The New Paper's modelling contest fate.

The 24-year-old local actress had gone to the auditions merely to accompany her twin sister Hayley, who is also now an actress.

But Woo was told she was not allowed into the audition area unless she was auditioning as well.

So she made what turned out to be a life-changing decision and signed up for the contest as well.

Woo ended up making the cut, but her sister did not.

On a possible reason, Woo told TNP: "The judges asked if we were willing to cut our hair. I said 'okay, free haircut'.

"But my sister, whose hair was waist-length, asked 'how short?'.

"I think 'can we cut your hair' wasn't a question, but a statement."

That haircut gave Woo her signature pixie hairstyle that she said made her "stand out" and "differentiated" her from her sister.

She said: "I really need to thank TNP. That's the hairstyle that got me to a lot of places."

Woo is signed as an artist to Mediacorp and has starred in Channel 8 dramas such as Beyond Words, The Queen and Tiger Mum.

At last month's Star Awards 2016, she even won a Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes award.

Woo said: "I didn't get many modelling offers (after New Face), but I feel like I'm not the modelling type anyway.

"I received a few artist management offers and picked Mediacorp because it was the safest choice."

She added: "I didn't really think acting was something I would grow to love. It doesn't feel like work for me. Earning money (from acting) is like a bonus."

But she confessed that before New Face, she was not someone used to being in front of the camera.

She had no modelling experience, except for photo shoots for blogshop.


On her experience with New Face, Woo said: "It was fun. With the girls, it was mostly just chilling.

"But at the (finale), where we had the catwalk, that was scary. I remember the huge crowd at (2011's finale venue) Takashimaya.

"It was the bonding that makes the whole experience worth it."

Woo said she did not face many difficulties in New Face.

She said: "When it comes to instructions, I can follow quite well.

"Whatever (the New Face staff) do for you, it's for your own good. Follow the professionals' advice."

She advised those keen on joining this year's contest to "just be happy and be you".

She said: "That's the most beautiful you can be and no one can take that from you.

"It doesn't matter what size or shape you are. There will be someone who will appreciate you for you."

Tune in live to the New Face 16 walk-in audition on our Facebook page on Sunday from 1pm.


FOOD the in HOOD

This is the third of our series featuring cuisines of major precincts in Singapore. Here, we explore eateries that showcase the culinary heritage of Bugis

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Oh! Bun cha

Hanoi street food gets local buzz following viral Instagram post of Obama eating it in Vietnam

THE 'POTUS EFFECT': (Above) Chef Le Van Tuan of local restaurant Uncle Ho Tuckshop explaining to our reporter what goes into bun cha.

Bun cha has gone from a Hanoi street food speciality to international buzz-worthy cuisine, thanks to one Instagram post.

On Monday, social media went crazy when US celebrity TV chef Anthony Bourdain posted a photo of his meal with US President Barack Obama, who was touring Hanoi, Vietnam, at the Bun Cha Huong Lien eatery.

Bourdain tweeted: "Total cost of bun cha dinner with the President: $6.00. I picked up the check."

He added: "Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer."

It was the sheer casualness of the picture that captivated so many.

"Cool" was a common adjective used to describe Bourdain's powwow with Mr Obama.

THE 'POTUS EFFECT': (Above) Mr Barack Obama having a meal of bun cha with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi, in a picture that has gone viral. PHOTO:  INSTAGRAM/ANTHONYBOURDAIN 

They were eating bun cha, a popular Hanoi dish of white rice noodles, herbs and grilled pork, and the picture had a ripple effect - at least for Uncle Ho Tuckshop at 100 Pasir Panjang Road.

Ms Jackie Ho, a co-owner of the restaurant who is in her late 40s, said they usually sell about 200 bowls of bun cha at $12.90 each daily.

She told TNP: "Bun cha is in fact our house special and it is popular with customers."

But since the Obama-Bourdain picture went viral, that number has gone up by "more than 50 per cent".

She added: "We even had people calling us to reserve bowls for them, in case we run out by evening."

To the uninitiated, bun cha is not pronounced as it is spelt.

Ms Ho said people have been coming in all week and mispronouncing it. ("It's boon cha.")

Uncle Ho's Hanoi-born chef Le Van Tuan, 38, said bun cha must have a broth that is balanced - sweet, sour and salty.

He said: "The herbs are important too. We use the coca leaf and a Vietnamese mint that we import."

You must also eat it with garlic and pickles in the broth.

Also, the broth is not for drinking. It is actually a dipping sauce for the rice noodles.

Chef Le stressed that there is only one version: with pork.

"Only pork can make bun cha," he said.

Chef Le has eaten at Bun Cha Huong Lien, where Mr Obama and Bourdain's famous meal took place.

He said: "It's a very famous shop with at least 20 years' history. It only sells bun cha."

The Obama effect isn't felt by all Vietnamese restaurants though, as bun cha is not as readily available in Singapore.

SAY IT RIGHT: Bun cha is pronounced 'boon cha', and consists of white rice noodles, herbs and grilled pork. PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO, INSTAGRAM/ANTHONYBOURDAIN

TNP called a few Vietnamese restaurants and only two sell it.

Popular chain Wrap & Roll is one of those, but it has not seen an increase in sales of the dish.

Ms Jacinta Lee, marketing manager of MSJ Gourmet Group which operates Wrap & Roll, said: "We have not yet seen a rise in orders as people are still wondering exactly what dish it is, as the awareness on Vietnamese cuisine is still quite low."

But that may change soon.

Ms Lee, 28, said that from Saturday, they will start serving an Obama set meal ($12.90) consisting of "Bun Cha Hanoi in its original Hanoi presentation with Vietnamese beer".

This is available till June 19 at Wrap & Roll's ION Orchard, Star Vista and Changi City Point outlets only.

We even had people calling us to reserve bowls (of bun cha) for them, in case we run out by evening.

- Ms Jackie Ho, co-owner of Uncle Ho Tuckshop

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